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August 19, 2015

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Watermelon Tzatziki

Watermelon is the new mango. This summer, we've seen tons of recipes for watermelon in just about everything. At the Fancy Food Show, watermelon-based gazpachos (we were right next to them!) were selected as among the top 5 food trends for this year.

Well, we've got something to add to your next grilled meal--watermelon tzatziki. The sweetness of the melon really pairs nicely with the tangy greek yogurt. Such a refreshing and satisfying way to enhance a meal. Speaking from experience, it works really well with grilled lamb chops or grilled chicken kabobs.



  • 2/3 cup Watermelon, shredded and strained
  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt (our preference is Fage--it's the closest you'll find to real Greek yogurt at the grocery store)
  • Sea salt, to taste 
  • 1 tsp Mint, finely chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic, finely chopped
  • 2-3 tsp Spartan Oil ;-)

Preparation: Cut up several pieces of watermelon, leaving the rind on. The rind will give you something to hold on to as you shred the melon into small pieces. After you've shredded approximately 1 cup of watermelon, place it into a strainer and allow it to sit for at least 20 minutes to allow the water to drain out. After most of the water has drained out, it should yield approximately 2/3 cup of watermelon.

Combine all ingredients into a large bowl, except for the salt and Spartan Oil. Mix gently to blend. Add in the salt and Spartan Oil until you're happy with the taste.


Pro tip: Preparing the tzatziki the night before will allow the ingredients, particularly the garlic to intensify in flavor.


Greek Salad - Spartan Village-style

If you wanted a traditional Greek salad in Greece, you'd go to just about any restaurant or taverna and ask for a "horiatiki salata", i.e. "village salad".  In the villages are where the freshest ingredients can be found, but it's the simplicity of the salad that makes it great and tasty. 



  • 2 large tomatoes (the juice from large, ripe tomatoes adds to the dressing, but throw in some cherry tomatoes to step up the presentation)
  • 1 medium cucumber (seedless varieties are preferred)
  • 1/2 green pepper (or a banana pepper!)
  • 1/4 red onion (step it up with chives as an alternative)
  • 1/8 cup black olives
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • Sea salt, to taste (probably won't need much if the feta is sufficiently salty)
  • 2-3 tbsp Spartan Oil ;-)

Cutting: Don't worry too much about precision--the point is to get chunks small enough to fit two or three items on a fork at once. Cut each tomato into approximately 12-16 pieces. Cut cucumbers into half-moon pieces. Green peppers and onions should be cut into smaller pieces approximately half the size of one of your cucumber chunks.

Combine all ingredients into a large bowl, except for feta, oregano and Spartan Oil. Mix gently to blend. Place chunks of feta on top, then liberally drizzle the entire salad with Spartan Oil. Place oregano in palms and rub oregano over salad. Prior to plating, toss entire salad.

Pro tip: Add some chopped fresh basil for an extra flavor kick. 



July 08, 2015


recipe ›

BBQ Throwdown Recipe

This... Is... SPARTA! (No, seriously. This is Sparta in a sauce.)

Look around Sparta and you'll see olive trees everywhere. But mixed in, you'll find fig trees, orange trees, and dozens of other varieties of fruit trees.  This is the inspiration for our BBQ Throwdown sauce.

Barbecuing in Sparta is about featuring the fresh meats and vegetables. True to form, food in Sparta is exceptionally simple and sauces are typically olive-oil based. Tomato based sauces are a winter staple, when fresh tomatoes aren't available. Our sauce is a variation of the traditional Ladolemono (oil-lemon) sauce, with orange juice and fig preserves for a sweet and fruity kick. 

Use to marinate and grill chicken, basting every 5 minutes. Also perfect for a grilled pork chop or mild flavored white fish like Branzino. 

  • 5 TBSP Spartan Oil 
  • 3 TBSP Orange Juice
  • 2 TBSP Fig Preserves
  • 1.5 TBSP Dijon Mustard
  • 1 TBSP Lemon Juice
  • 1 TBSP White Vinegar
  • 1 TBSP Roasted Garlic
  • 1/2 TSP Fresh Rosemary, Finely Chopped
  • 1/2 TSP Dried Greek Oregano
  • 1/2 TSP (or more) Chipotle powder
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Step 1. Make Roasted Garlic

  • Preheat your oven to 225. 
  • Begin with one whole heads of garlic.  
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the top of the head off, exposing the tops of each clove. 
  • Place the garlic in a piece of aluminum foil.
  • Drizzle 1 TBSP of Spartan Oil over the garlic cloves. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  • Loosely wrap the garlic clove and olive oil and place in the oven.
  • Bake for 1.5 - 2 hours.
  • Allow to cool for approximately 30 minutes.
  • Squeeze the bottom of the head of garlic and the cloves will slide out.
  • Place cloves in a bowl and mix with Spartan oil to create a loose paste.

Step 2. Combine Remaining Ingredients

  • In a large bowl, add all ingredients except for salt, pepper, and chipotle. 
  • Blend all ingredients well. 
  • Use an immersion blender to thoroughly blend ingredients.
  • Add chipotle powder and blend well. Add more for additional heat.
  • Add pepper to taste.
  • Add salt.

 Yields approximately 1 cup.



Spartan Fried Eggs

Recently, while on a trip for a family wedding (absolutely beautiful and amazing and any other superlative available), we went to breakfast at Cracker Barrel. I've been trying to pay a little more attention to what I eat which, of course, is the exact opposite of what you should do at a place like Cracker Barrel. Thankfully, Cracker Barrel has some pretty decent breakfast options (turkey sausage and bacon, fresh fruit, yogurt, etc.).

So, I asked the lovely server for a fried egg, turkey sausage, and a side of fresh fruit. 

"How do you want that egg--easy, over?"

"Well, let's go with over."

"Sure, honey."

When the breakfast arrived, the eggs looked remarkably clean, as if they'd been fried in a pan with no oil or seasonings. They were... okay... No match for a Spartan-style fried egg.

Spartan Breakfast

We got home and the first breakfast we made were fried eggs in Spartan Oil. So delicious with crispy edges on the whites and a light coating of olive oil all over. Delectable.

Here's how to fry an egg Spartan-style.

What you'll need

  • Frying pan (preferably non-stick)
  • Flipper/Spatula
  • Spoon
  • Small bowl
  • Egg
  • Spartan Oil! 
  • Salt
  • Pepper

How to do it

  • Place about 2-3 heaping tablespoons of olive oil in the pan. It should be enough to form a little splashing pool for your egg. You know, enough to stomp around in, but not enough to get soaked and drown.
  • Heat the pan to a medium temperature, making sure that the oil doesn't start to smoke.  
  • Before you add the egg, be aware that the oil will splatter. This is what makes the lovely bubbly texture on the egg white, but it can burn you. Use a splatter screen or something to protect your arms. Also, move your mail to a counter that isn't adjacent to the frying pan. Trust me on this.
  • Crack a single egg into a small bowl. Do this to ensure that you get a whole egg with the yolk intact. If you happen to break the yolk, use the egg for another recipe. 
  • Pour the egg from the bowl into the pan SLOWLY. Avoid splashing the oil.
  • After the egg starts to set up (about 30 seconds), give the pan a little shake to see if the egg separates from the pan. If it's still sticking, gently give it a nudge with your spatula. Once it separates from the pan, it should glide around the pan like an figure skater--gracefully and with ease. 
  • This next step is WHAT MAKES IT GOOD. Take the spoon and scoop up a little of the hot oil from the pan. Gently pour a little of the hot oil over the top of the egg. This will help firm up the top of the egg, so that when you flip it over later, you won't break the yolk. Repeat this a couple of times until the yolk starts to form a little white layer. NOW YOU'RE COOKING WITH LOVE!
  • Okay, here's the tricky part. Take out your spatula and prepare for precision flipping. Gently slide the spatula under the now mostly-white egg until you've got about half the egg on the flipper. Now is not the time to impress your family with your aerial flipping skills. Pick up the egg until the bottom edge is just out of the oil. Quickly, but smoothly, roll the egg from the flipper into the pan. This may take some practice, but eating the mistakes is the best part. 
  • Give the egg about 30 to 60 seconds to cook and then do the pan shaking/spatula nudging step again. 
  • Take the egg out of the pan with the spatula (don't slide it from the pan to a plate). Let some of the oil drip off into the pan, but leave a decent amount on the egg. It's olive oil, after all, and it's good for you. And it's delicious with a piece of crusty white bread.
  • That's it. You've done it. Marvel at your work and allow your primal instincts to rejoice in your egg-frying abilities. You were fearless and you were bold--the Ancient Spartans would be proud. Take a photo. Share it. Let others envy your breakfast. Don't forget to eat it.